HEALTH AND FITNESS: Summer gains and losses

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The school year has ended for kids in our area. Long summer days to play, sleep in and relax are an important part of growing up. But many educators and health professionals are concerned about what gets lost – and what gets gained – when kids are away from school. This is especially true in a year when many kids missed at least some opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Summer learning loss is a real concern. It is estimated that children lose, on average, two months of reading skills and one month of overall learning over summer break. Those losses must be made up when school starts again in the fall, so teachers spend about six weeks re-teaching material that was covered in the previous grade. That is six weeks that children are not learning at grade level, which certainly has an impact on achievement over time.

Not all kids are affected equally. Much of the disparity in summer learning losses falls along socioeconomic lines. Some children have more opportunities than others to continue learning over the summer through formal educational programs and camps and informal encouragement to read.

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